Bont's latest Riot road shoes take the customisable fit and stiffness of the original Riot and improve on the aesthetics significantly. The fibreglass tub offers a great fit and the Z Form Velcro strap combined with the buckle closure is good. Not only are these very good road shoes, they're also the cheapest heat-mouldable shoes on the market. The trouble is, the Boa versions are only £50 more.
- Pros: Brilliant fit, stiff sole, much-improved aesthetics, price
- Cons: Closure system isn't as good as the Boa version
Why does it help to be able to bake your shoes? Well, for some there are performance benefits to be found and watts to be saved. But for most, comfort is the biggest factor. Pressure spots can be relieved and heel retention can be adjusted to help overall fit.
The moulding process is very simple. You pop them in the kitchen oven at 70°C for 20 minutes, which softens the sole enough that when you put your feet in it forms to their shape. I used the heel of my hand to press the heel sides together and add a little more arch support. Once cool, you can put your cleats on and try them out on the trainer.
The comfort came pretty quickly, with only one more bake required to add slightly more arch support. Once done, these felt incredibly comfortable and have stayed that way through many longer rides. The toe box is wide and can't really be slimmed down, so if you're a fan of Sidi shoes, these probably won't be for you.
Setting up the cleats is also very easy with a very good microgrid that helps to line everything up properly and makes small adjustments much easier than standard markings. The three cleat holes are located nicely under the ball of the foot, making it easy to get a comfortable setup.
The one area where the adjustment isn't so good is the closure system. This combination of ratchet and Velcro closure is fine, but the adjustments aren't as small as those from a dial system. If you want that dial system then you'll have to pay £50 more for the Riot+ which also has a few more colour options if the white/black or black/white just isn't fun enough for you.
Apart from the closure system, the shoe is identical to the Riot+ pair that Jack reviewed a couple of years ago. And having used these for plenty of training rides and club runs, I'd agree with his general observation that these are very comfortable performance shoes at a very good price.
The stiffness is very high with lots of that coming from the tub construction. Through the testing period, I've not experienced any hotspots or numbness so I wouldn't say that the soles are harsh in any way.
In terms of price, there's not much to compare them to – the company's own Riot+ being the closest at £150. They get you a Boa dial and are probably the ones that I'd spend my own money on. Value here is very good, though. The shoes are well made, easy to clean and spare parts are easy to get.
In conclusion, if you're after performance shoes on a very tight budget then these are fabulous. The fit for wide feet and heat moulding will make these a brilliant purchase for those with difficult feet.
Comfortable, stiff, heat mouldable and just £99 – there's lots to love here
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bont Riot Buckle
Size tested: 42
Tell us what the product is for
Bont says: "The Bont Riot, renowned for its world-class performance and anatomical power transfer platform is now available to the masses. Delivering competition-level fit and construction with a micro-adjustable buckle and Velcro retention system, the all-new Riot takes entry-level road cycling shoes to the next level."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Material Fiberglass Construction with anti-stretch Microfibre upper
Stack Height 4.8 mm
Air Vents Ventilated microfibre inserts featuring microresh inserts
Sole Guards Replaceable
Cleat Mounting 3-Hole Look/Shimano Standard configuration
Fit Customization Fully Heat Moldable Chassis utilising Expoxy Thermoset Fiberglass
Closing Options Z Form Velcro and Micro Adjustable Buckle
Color Options White/Black, Black/White
Sizing Options Standard
Weight 295g (each), size 42
The stitching is solid and while I wouldn't say that they're the prettiest shoes, they certainly work very well.
Comfy and stiff. Can't say much better than that.
Everything is looking good.
Rather boxy, but it works for me and many others. They can't be made much smaller for those with narrow feet.
Just a touch smaller than advertised.
Very good. Construction is good and the performance for the money is brilliant.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy. The microfibre upper wipes easily, keeping them looking fresh.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. These are a comfy place for your feet for longer rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The tub-like carbon sole is stiff and mouldable. Brilliant comfort and stiffness.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The ratchet closure system just isn't as good as a Boa dial.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Incredibly well. No one else is doing heat moulding at this price.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, though I'd probably go for the Riot+.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Very good shoes for those on a budget. They're £99 and offer the same performance as the Riot+ but are slightly held back by the buckle/ratchet closure system, which just isn't as good as a Boa dial.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.